Steroids and Their Affects On The Human Body

Drugs have been used in sports almost as long as sports themselves have
been around. The ancient Incas discovered that the ashes from burned leaves of
the Coca tree gave the people great stores of energy, and made sleep unnecessary
for hours or even days, it was later discovered to be the stimulant cocaine.
They would take it before long hunts, battles, and even found it useful in
ancient sport competitions. It wasn\'t until 1886 that the first drug-related
death in sports occurred. A bicyclist took a mixture of cocaine and heroine,
called the "speedball," and died from it. Little were the doctors aware the
epidemic that would follow in the next century.
Anabolic steroids, developed in the 1930\'s in Europe, are drugs that
help to build new body tissue quickly, but with drastic side effects. Anabolic
means the ability to promote body growth and repair body tissue. It comes from
the Greek word anabolikos meaning "constructive." Steroids are basically made
up of hormones.
Picture: One woman training to make the 1984 US women\'s basketball team
used them, her muscles started to bulge, her voice grew deeper, and she even had
the beginnings of a mustache. These are all the usual symptoms of anabolic
Steroids were not always used for sports, they started out the same way
most drugs did, medicinal purposes. Victims of starvation and severe injury
profited from it\'s ability to build new tissue quickly. They also helped
prevent muscle tissue from withering in patients who had just had surgery.
Steroids are used to treat Addison\'s disease.
Anabolic steroids are drugs that come from hormones or from combinations
of chemicals that achieve the same result as hormones. Hormones may be given to
an individual in their natural state, or in a synthetic one. The synthetic
state is sometimes more potent than the natural one. Testosterone and
progesterone are hormones used in steroids, another kind comes from the adrenal
glands, which secrete various necessary bodily chemicals. The steroids
themselves can be taken orally, as tablets or powders, and can also be liquids
that are injected into the muscles.
The steroids taken by athletes contain testosterone or chemicals that
act in similar way to testosterone. Testosterone is found in men and women, but
in women it is present in much smaller amounts, mainly because it is produced in
the testicles in men. More than one hundred and twenty steroids are based on
the hormone testosterone. There are many brand names, such as Durabolin,
Winstrol, Pregnyl, and Anavar.
Basically anabolic steroids control the bodily functions that are
normally under control of the bodies natural testosterone. As well as turning
women into men and men into manly men it has a stimulative effect on skeletal
muscle mass, some visceral organs, the hemoglobin concentration, and the red
blood cell number and mass.
Of course, most people take anabolic steroids illegally to stimulate
growth in muscle cells. Once a person is born, he/she will not grow anymore
muscle cells throughout their life. So when muscle mass increases it is the
individual cells growing in girth to compensate for either an increase in work,
or the release of androgen hormones(found in all anabolic steroids.) Exercise
alone can stimulate the girth of muscle cells to increase by anywhere from
thirty to sixty percent. The presence of androgen hormones allows for even
greater growth. Anabolic steroids act like our natural androgen hormones in
that they stimulate anabolic metabolism in the muscles. Anabolic metabolism
involves the buildup of larger molecules from smaller ones and includes all the
constructive processes used to manufacture the substances needed for cellular
growth and repair. As a result of steroids stimulating anabolic metabolism,
muscles increase in size to a substantially greater size than they would have
been if the individual only exercised.
Doctors take different views on prescribing steroids. Most dislike the
use of them in sports, and some will not prescribe them at all for use in sports.
They see them as dangerous for healthy individuals, and the taking of drugs to
get a winning edge they see as cheating. Others don\'t like steroids, but will
prescribe them, knowing their patient, if not given them by their doctor, will
get them from somewhere else. This way they can regulate them, tell the patient
the correct way to use them, and keep an eye on them. Still others doctors
consider steroids safe when administered under medical supervision, which
includes carefully regulating dosages and watching for the first signs of
A fourth view doctors take is recognizing the possibility that although
sometimes steroids do serious harm, the same can be said of minor drugs,